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Medical/biological study (experimental study)

IEI-EMF provocation case studies: A novel approach to testing sensitive individuals.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2018; 39 (2): 132-143

Aim of study (acc. to author)

1) To test whether exposure to radiofrequency exposure from a portable exposure device resulted in an increase in an electrosensitive subjects's symptom compared to sham exposure and
2) to determine whether electrosensitive probands could detect the active radiofrequency signal at greater than chance level.
Background/further details: Three (2 male, 1 female) subjects with self-diagnosed electromagnetic hypersensitivity were included. The tests were conducted in the home environments of the participants.
On the first day, two non-blinded open trials were conducted: one with radiofrequency exposure and one without (both subject and researcher were aware of the exposure status). Afterwards, 12 double-blind, randomized and counterbalanced trials were conducted consisting of 6 trials with radiofrequency exposure and 6 trials with sham exposure. Each trial ran for 105 minutes, starting with a 15 minutes baseline to assess the subject's symptoms prior to exposure. This was followed by a 30 minutes exposure/sham exposure accompanied by questions about symptoms and exposure status. Afterwards, symptoms were assessed in a 30 minutes post-exposure period. Finally, a 30 minutes rest closed the trial. The trials took part on three consecutive days.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 902–928 MHz
Exposure duration: 30 min each exposure (6 x in double-blind study)
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 902–928 MHz
Type
Exposure duration 30 min each exposure (6 x in double-blind study)
Additional info ISM band
Modulation
Modulation type cf. additional info
Additional info digitally modulated like Wi-Fi and 3G and 4G signals
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • portable, battery-operated device (RF modem)
Distance between exposed object and exposure source 30 cm
Chamber device was fully enclosed in a thermally insulated case
Setup exposure device was situated in front or to the side of the subject depending on what was comfortable for the subject
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power density 0.3 W/m² mean measured - incident power density at the participant
power 1 W mean - - power output
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
Time of investigation:
  • before exposure
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

No significant difference in symptom severity or exposure detection was found for any of the subjects between the two conditions (exposure and sham exposure). Belief of exposure strongly predicted symptom severity score for all subjects.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia

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